Re: [Re: Positive AI plots]

Jake Shannon (
12 Apr 99 17:58:11 PDT

I love that game! I haven't played in years, do you play over the net?

Jake Shannon
Director of Financial Services
Riley & Associates
Candidate for M.S. Financial Engineering Golden Gate University

Anders Sandberg <> wrote:

This reminds me of the roleplaying games I participated in yesterday. Our gaming group is currently running a light-hearted game of Marvel Superheroes. Let's just say the game system and limited world of superhero cartoons has some serious problems accomodating our gaming style ("Ok, Mother Sweden makes sure the conservatives support the new bill by causing a moral panic against supervillains, while the Queen of the Night and our lobbyists convince the Constitutional Commission that the bill is constitutional. Meanwhile I'll get the EU and industry to fund the project.").

Anyway, I played Upgrade, a self-made AI/robot out to prove to humanity that "AIs are people too" and to upgrade himself to the fullest extent - for which he realized he might need human assistance. By making himself look good and becoming an indispensable superhero, he planned to get people to acknowledge sentinent rights to intelligent machines (awfully hard to give medals to non-persons), making way for the eventual emergence of even more AI and a strong human-AI partnership.

During the game, we found out that the new criminal mastermind of the Stockholm underground was - another robot. A robot that looked suspiciously like Upgrade but definitely had other views (world domination and giant robots included). Various adventures ensured, and in the end the kinpin confronted Upgrade in his lab robot-to-robot.

What followed was a very amusing and logical discussion/battle between two very rational beings. Both robots quickly discovered that they were indeed very similar, and began to compare their source code. They were essentially the same AI seed, just with slightly different values, the rest was equal. One (or both) was a mutation of the original, but each was of course completely unwilling to change their own values and unable to accept the long-term plans of the other. They were both driven to extend their capabilities, which meant that sharing their memory databases would be an excellent idea for both - except for that it would give the opponent a dangerous advantage. So both began to try to rewrite the values of each other. After a pinched digital battle Upgrade won - he got the kingpin to share his values. The other saw that it had been wrong all the time, and promptly merged with Upgrade.

So in the end Upgrade became Upgrade/Kingpin, to the great confusion of the other superheroes ("You can stop looking for the kingpin."
"Why?" "I'm it. The entire underworld is now controlled by the Swedish
Superhero Association throgh me, which might put us in a slightly awkward ethical position").

Silly? Yes. Fun? Definitely. It showed that you can squeeze transhumanist ideas even into the limited world of superheroes in a positive way. You could probably develop the overall story further into an AI-positive movie.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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